Meet the Adventurers: Uncrowned
Tian and a few other Palace Land Rebels lead a group of Yamato Adventurers to a secret camp of Uncrowned deep in the wilderness. It is a chance at news, intel, and contacts that are desperately needed on both sides if the fight is going to step up against those who wield the Crowned as their weapons.
Coming into the region itself, round southwards around the mountains, the approach a dirty river region filled with wild rice and other unusual plants. Wooden planks everywhere, cross-crossing the region. Most of them old, some of them rotten away. It looks like the kind of place that might have once had people living here, but not anymore.
Further south lie the ruins of what was once a town. The Yamato Adventurers had come to this very town almost a year ago, before the war. It was their first sign that this region was actually populated once upon a time! At the time, nobody knew that they'd find three empires so opposed to the very presence of the Adventurers. Or rather, their uncontrolled presence.
Then, they'd just found ruins. Nobody. No population, except for the presence of a dragon that chased them from the region, and a strange blue wolf-like creature.
Now however, thanks to their Guide, it seems they instead are finding something else. A few tents are erected amidst the ruins. Extremely temporary living. There's nervousness, as they approach what looks like a commune of mages. Some of them talking to a woman at the center of it all; Sophia Keren.
This time, however, Tian is leading them somewhere that may not be new, exactly, to some. The presence of people, however, that is new to those following the Cait Sith to Camp White.
The masked individual, who had acted as messenger and contact, now leads a group into the camp. Much of it looks as if it could be taken down quickly, meaning that there are likely bolt holes and hiding places nearby. To support that, there are likely many eyes that have followed their approach from a distance.
Knowing that there would likely be some uncertainty, Tian motions behind them, "<Remove any headgear before approaching.>" Then, the fox-wolf does so, themselves, revealing their painted features underneath.
Tian approaches the woman at the center of the attention, then drops to one knee, bowing their head before rising again. "<I have brought help.>"
She recalls their previous visit as they get closer to the strange ruin that they'd been chased out of, and she makes her way quietly so as to avoid alerting the dragon that chased us out before. This time, though, with a guide, she is surpised to find a small settlement. The need for avoiding patrols is unexpected this far from any major city, but she takes the advice to heart. "Perhaps the dragon had been meant to chase us off and not find them?" she speculates quietly to herself as we draw up to the small group.
She has a hooded cloak, dark in color for concealment, and to hide the long blonde hair that is like a beacon in the dark, but when we come to the village, she pulls the hood down without hesitation, she knows what that represents. She has no Crown. When Tian tells the woman he has brought help, she will bow respectfully, and say, "Greetings," in a formal way, as to one deserving respect. "I am Yeowang, of the New World Alliance from Yamato."
At the mention of returning to the area where the dragon was, Rizadoman almost seems to leap at the opportunity to travel their once again. There is also perhaps a little muttering about finally laying the challenge to rest, and only one dragon leaving or something. Obviously he must have been joking though, as who would want to fight a dragon. Still though Rizadoman looks happier and happier the closer they get, but gets a bit of shock upon the reveal of tents.
At the mention of headgear Rizadoman stumbles a little as he fumbles with the big headdress of his, working to somehow secure it to his back or something. Why he wouldn't inventory it is anyones guess, most his alliance mates would just grumble about roleplayers. However in the end as they are introduced the fumbling is forced to stop and Rizadoman, holding the head dress with both hands, bows to the new people. "I am Rizadoman, also of the New World Alliance from Yamato."
There aren't many Uncrowned who enjoy being kneeled before or bowed at. But Sophia Keren is different from that. The somewhat vain woman is rather focused on the impression she makes upon others. So Tian's gesture is heavily appreciated. "Please, Tian, rise." She then notes, motioning a hand in a manner that suggests one is free to approach. It appears she knows Tian well enough to make sure that her gesture is made visible, before it is audible.
The red eyed woman turns towards Yeowang in return and throws her a delightful smile. "So, Yamato returns to the Palace Lands." Bowing her head in a very slight manner. She doesn't want Yeowang to get the idea that she is beneath her.
"The Dragon is a problem from time to time in this region." Sophia Keren answers with a small smile on her face. "Especially to those who come into this area wearing headgear." She then adds onto that, as if it were a more meaningful statement than it appears at the surface of it all. "Welcome." She then finally adds onto that.
The woman motions for Rizadoman to approach as well. "I'm afraid there isn't much I can give you. As you can see." A motion around her. "We are in a rough position at this time." She posits, before adding; "But I am glad to see that our allies from overseas were victorious in repelling the Palace Land Landers. I hear that the lynchpin was something called a 'Kunie' beneath the Root Towns?"
Once the Yamato gathering has introduced themselves, Tian places their mask back over their features, adjusting it onto their face. There are a couple of motions of greeting to others in the camp, some of which seem to be watching with some curious glances.
"<Where once we were few, soon there will be many.>" Tian offers, signing their words to offer this much in reassurance. "<Support and supplies are coming.>" The Cait Sith's tail wags slightly behind them, in a very distinctly canine sort of way. It seems that the messenger is quietly happy to be of service to the other Uncrowned.
At the question about the Kunie, however, Tian leaves the majority of the discussion to the Yamato Adventurers. Instead, the fox-wolf only adds, "<It is strange. That which exists beneath the Root Towns.>"
But word that more are coming makes her pause, and she says, "If you have many coming, I do not know we can support everyone. But the outpost is open to you, if you like." She says this though Riza is right here, it's probably his prerogative, but she feels a strong sense of ownership with regard to Seeker's Landing, and so she feels justified in issuing the invite. She does look to Riza to confirm it, though.
"So the dragon is an ally of your effort? It must recognize a truly noble cause." Rizadoman says solemnly as he looks at the people and weighs options at hand. Initial thought is to invite them to seekers landing but the last time he did that well, it was eye opening to say the least. Instead he must take a stagnated approach, " As was said support and supplies are coming, you no longer fight here alone. We recognize that what has been done here, this resistance, is testament of the strenght and resolve each of you have, holding out hope for help. I am happy to say that we are here to help."
Stepping forward he looks about at the other mages then back to Sophia, "We are hoping to parley with your leaders to share what information we know and what has transpired. I understand that you work in cells but if we can get in contact with the leaders we will share all we have learned and been through and they can choose what to share. I commend your reconnascience as well though to get the name Kunie."
She then turns to Yeowang and shakes her head. "Too far to the east for us. The monsters there are far higher in level. And many of us are mages. We don't have the defenses to deal with some of the monsters that far east. I appreciate your offer, but it's not one we can realistically take. Especially if we want to continue our campaign of information gathering." Sophia points out.
"As for the dragon. I am not sure it's an 'ally' as much as it is an enemy to something else in the Palace Lands." Sophia points out with this pensive look on her face. "As for the leaders of the Uncrowned... I suppose you are talking to one of them." The woman points out. "Messenger Tian here doesn't just kneel before this Vampire Queen because they're a Roleplayer." Though it sounds like Keren may be. Or perhaps it's a way to distract Rizadoman from the fact that she's not going to touch on how she did this recon on that word.
Turning back to Yeowang, Sophia expresses that; "We don't know if the Kunie here are crowned or not. After all, they didn't need to change the ownership for anything to happen here. But... we are considering what we could do if we could convince the Kunie to give ownership to someone else."
As Sophia points out their respectful behavior, Tian lets out a small sound. They sign in response, "<I know to respect out leaders. Each Adventurer is important, but some take more on their shoulders than others.>"
Leaning back slightly against one of the stone ruins, the Cait Sith shakes their head, moving their hands fluidly, "<I would doubt any Kunie are Crowned here. At least I have not heard tell of any from my contacts in Kallamore.>" They lift a shoulder in a half shrug.
Sophie's comment about the local Kunie is telling, though, and she hadn't considered that they wouldn't be. "It's possible they may not be," she agrees. "Which makes our task harder. A Kunie under control will almost certainly resent that control. One who was not disturbed may not even see them as a thing to be concerned about." She thinks again, and nods at what Tian says. "The ones I met did not seem egregiously odd, but I imagine that they have all developed quirks in their long isolation. But if they are nor crowned, then we may have to visit them, and each will need different convincing. But the Crowned at least know /of/ them, and almost certainly have traps in place for anyone who wants to visit.
Rizadoman nods his head, "It is said a dragons perogative is one only a drago can understand but to have such a magnificent being willing to help, that is still impressive." Looking over at Yeowang, "Make sure before we leave Yeowang, we get a list of what they could use. We can do our best to supply them with it."
A glance is given to the self proclaimed vampire queen, "We have a few vampires in Yamato, though I have never heard one proclaim themselves queen. That is not to say that one doesn't come to mind who could take that title." The lizardman compares the vampire queen to the servant of the lich that comes to his mind before he moves on. "As the people with the information, we wish to remove the risk of the crown. Where would you think we should begin?"
The small sound and signing that follows gets Tian a very pleased closed-eyed smile. Not even a nod. But something more personal than that. "The question is, can Adventurers be given leadership over a Root Town. Or is that something only Landers can obtain." The 'Vampire Queen' adds.
"The Crowned definitely know of them, and certainly would be looking to protect them. Which is why we're trying to find them before the Crowned can seal them off entirely." The woman adds.
"As for removing the risk of the crown... what do you mean?" The Queen asks. "If you want to stop them from being useful, you'd have to understand how they work intimately. I am afraid that isn't information I have." She then looks to Tian instead. "Though some of us are more familiar."
Throughout their time in Yamato, and their interactions with the Kunie, the prospect of turning over a city to Adventurers had never come up. There is a slight tightening of Tian's lips and a flick of their ears which suggests that they are thinking it over. "<Uncertain. They seemed focused on turning it over to a 'rightful owner'.>" Tian ends this with a shrug.
As for the Crowns, that is where Tian can offer some hope to the others within the resistance. "<With the help of our allies, we have discovered ways of removing the Crowns. it is not easy, but it is possible to train others who have Accessory Forging skills to do the same.>"
She smirks at the mention of Kunie being 'human like', and nods agreement. "Some, I have heard, are almost a caricature of some significant 'type'. Definitely not human in motivation, which may make them hard to convince." Tian's mention of rightful owners draws another nod from her. "That seems consistent with the little I know." She nods about removing crowns, and agrees, "We wereable to uncrown a Kunie, who was fighting with its full power, as far as I could tell. That said, I was not bearing up well, but our Accessory Forger was able to succeed while the Kunie focused on the party."
Rizadoman shakes his head, "I am sorry I suppose I wasn't clear. As people said we can remove the crowns with time, unfortunately I have also heard that is not a guarantee people will turn back to fight on their captors unfortunately." He looks around the tents again and then back at Tian, "You believe there are others that could learn what our accessory forgers have?" Perhaps the option is to just start raiding those with crowns and rebuilding the army. Unfortunately it still means that they can't get to any of the rulers without baiting them out. Finally he look back over at Sophia, "I suppose I was only asking if you had any input on the war that is at hand, where you felt the best troop deployment would be."
"As for the crowns... that's not really about the crowns, is it? That's about two years of being being stuck in a situation. Some have found comfort. Others... struggle." Sophia points out, with a bit of sorrow appearing in her eyes. Her hands coming together and lowering downwards in front of herself.
"I can't help with teaching Accessory Forging. You will have to rely on people such as Tian for that." A brief pause, "But if you wish to speak on the war... I think you should start in Kallamore before the others. Rosenheim and Thor are far more impregnable. Thor's situation is pretty hard right now, with far less Crowned, and a lot more people turned Landers. But that's up to you of course. Just... don't move too many troops near our camps. The more people you send, the more easily they can find us. And if they find us - that is not a war we can win." A momentary pause, before she miles to Rizadoman; "And then I would have to come and avenge them." With a fanged sweet smile that shows this intense killing intent with those red eyes of hers. The kind of thing that sends shivers down someone's spine.
To Sophia, they offer this much, "<If any of your people wish to learn, have them return with us to Seeker's Landing. We can teach them there, and then offer protection to return here when the training is complete.>" Their hands fly with various signs moving quickly, not bothering to sign as slowly as they might with others. Perhaps Tian is just that used to communication with Sophia at this point.
Then, they look to the Yamato Adventurers. "<My group know Kallamore best. It would be a good place to start. They are more lax about hunting Adventurers, and it offers us the best opportunity for a foothold. Especially with allies within.>"
She nods about speaking on the war, though, and about seeking out Kallamore. That had been her idea also, so she nods gravely. She blinks at the slightly veiled threat about moving too close to the camp, but understands the concern as she steels her features. She says, "It is a long way from Seeker's Landing to come with supplies. But if we only come most of the way, and leave a hidden chache, that may make it harder to trace."
She nods as Tian confirms about Kallamore, and says, "A Palace Lander ship was left tied up at Seeker's Landing. If someone saw it, or could describe it to you, might you be able to guess where it came from? I'm thinking it might be a good way to disguise a group entering Kallamore, and to hide unfamilar people, who would them remain hidden until they could creep out unobserved."
"Logistics is going to be a problem for you. Even the Romans were able to construct a fleet of a few hundred ships in two months. I am concerned that Rosenheim is going to out-grow its fleet on you. Finding another way to bring supplies here is going to be core to success here, if you plan to wage war." Sophia then suddenly brings up. "I can't say how. But we've been looking for ways to better connect with Yamato for a while now." Keren notes. Something for the others to consider when they head back.
"As for the ships in the Palace Lands - they are always of Rosenheim. Much like your Fourland Dukedom is the main naval nation, and builds all of the ships - it is much the same here in the Palace Lands." Sophia proposes. She then motions to the south. "You can move longboats into this area if you are cover about it. It has access to the ocean. It's just not easily seen from further away."
"<We will see. The war is far from over. It is just beginning.>" Tian looks around the camp, pushing themselves up from where they had been leaning against the wall. "<Leave me with any missives you need carried, either to Seeker's Landing or the other enclaves.>"
Then, looking to the others, "<For now, I suggest you gather your questions, ask them while you can, and rest before we return.>" It is a long way through dangerous territory, afterall.
Rizadoman nods his head slowly, they aren't wrong, they have logistic issues and this back and forth with blockades will only continue at this rate. Taking a deep breath he looks around and nods his head, " I am sure I will come up with more questions but for now I am happy we were able to talk and hope this is the beginning of a growing alliance." With that Rizadoman gives a bow to the queen before he makes his way towards the edge of the camp to find somewhere to sit and ponder the situation.
"If I can assist you with logistics, please let me know," she says. She ran sections of her father's corporation back in RL and has no fear of large scale logistics. As to gathering her questions, she has already been told to go to Kallamore, so she asks, "I will need to know how to contact your allies in Kallamore. I think we must learn the rest from them?"